Would a reputable lawyer advise a client to write a contract that is "within the law" but in essence is cheating the public?
Many people consider this situation to be all right for the following reasons:
- it is all about making money, i.e. legal fees
- their duty is to the client (who pays their fees)
- if the law is not clear, it is acceptable for the lawyer to take advantage of the unclarity.
I wonder if the lawyer has a duty that is above making money? Do they have a moral duty to ensure that the society is honest and fair?
I remember an episode in the move "Godfather" where the inhouse lawyer consider it to be his duty to protect the mafia family from being prosecuted under the law, but in all other respects, what the mafia family does is not his concern. Has this type of thinking invaded our society?
The shady practices used to be the work of small time lawyers who seek quick profit. In recent years, these types of practices appear to be acceptable to reputable firms, who have become motivated by greed.
Tan Kin Lian
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